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'Celebrating the Spectrum' music program returns to Michigan State

Posted at 11:06 AM, Jul 26, 2023

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Celebrating the Spectrum: A Festival of Music and Life is returning to Michigan State University to offer a one-of-a-kind music program for young musicians on the autism spectrum.

The program goes from July 24-29 and will culminate in a public concert that showcases the achievements of the talented musicians.

The concert will take place Saturday, July 29, at 4 p.m. in Cook Recital Hall of the Music Building at Michigan State University.

During the week, students receive an in-depth collegiate experience that includes instruction from MSU music professors as well as lectures and on-campus living.

Professor of piano at MSU Derek Polischuk explained that the program is "a high-level artistic musical experience for students on the autism spectrum."

The primary goal of Celebrating the Spectrum is not only to provide a memorable and valuable experience for the attendees, but it is also designed to help improve the perceptions about the potential of students on the autism spectrum attending college.

"We wanted to show the positive side of the autism spectrum. That many times you have people who may not be as socially adept as other people but who have amazing talent," Chair of the Keyboard Area at MSU Deborah Moriarty said.

The program also encompasses mentor sessions for the students with high-level MSU pianists and teachers who train under the piano faculty at the university.

Students participating in this year's program include four returning participants David Ginther, Masha Staples, Nathan Chen and Owen Whitman and two new students Matthew Miller and Jude Nyame Yie Kofie.

The event is sponsored by the MSU Office of the Provost, Lauren Harris and corporate sponsors, The MSU Federal Credit Union and TechSmith. Dean Transportation also provided all transportation needs for the participants.

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